Prior to the mid-1980s, the major problem identified by the climate alarmists was a new ice age. This fit nicely into political and social activists’ aims because it paralleled the growing realization of a “nuclear winter” that could result from a nuclear war between the US and the USSR. The scenario implied that even if a nuclear war could be won, everyone, including the winners, would lose because the entire world would be thrown into a freezing environment followed by famine and societal collapse.
In 1984 and 1985, the UK experienced one of the largest and most dramatic union strikes in history when England’s coal miners walked out, threatening to bring down the government of the conservative Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, fought back, eventually destroying the power of the unions and making the strike itself illegal. She, however, did not want to be dependent upon coal and increasingly unstable oil supplies. She also was a strong advocate for nuclear power. Combining these with a desire for political stability, she supported an active climate protection policy, which included a number of laws protecting the environment, combined with efforts to fight “climate change.” She, in fact, asked the UN General Assembly to take global action. In addition, she aggressively began to fund environmental studies.
It may seem strange that the global warming movement was started by a conservative. However, the idea of global climate change fit so closely with those of the environmentalist groups that they soon adopted the idea as their own. This was augmented by the collapse of the USSR. The so-called social activists who were part of the far left machine had nowhere to go. Their ideology, put into actual practice, had failed, but their desire to change the world, especially the US, had not waned. They were attracted to the idea of global climate change to justify and proselyte their agenda.
Global climate change at this point was transformed from an environmental movement with political overtones to a political movement looking for scientific justification.
A logical being from another planet would observe at this point that while a substantial amount of information could be learned about human nature, very little could be said about actual climate change.
Move forward several decades and we now have a multi-billion dollar industry, with numerous jobs and people with reputations and egos to protect, all dependent upon the idea of global climate change.
Now, money, politics and science have converged. If you are a scientist and need money to do your research, then make the research fit into global warming. If you want your research to be published, tie it into global warming. If you want your research to be picked up in the media, be sure to make it as alarmist as possible.
The publication Science News abstracts current scientific findings in layman terms. Last week, it highlighted new findings that global warming would threaten beer. Yes. According to computer models, hops production will decline 17 percent by 2099. That could lead to a doubling of beer prices in “some countries.” Why are we reading this little fluff piece along with findings about supernova and the dipole moment of electrons? The story features the magic words... global warming.
So, is the climate actually changing? Yes, of course it is.
Is climate change due to CO2? Marginal. The data fit for other hypotheses is tighter.
Is the climate change a result of human activity? Some of it, but not much.
Will climate change destroy the human world? No, but poverty created by over-zealous advocates could harm hundreds of millions in less developed parts of the world.
What true believers of global warming are emphatically opposing is not an apostasy from science, but a rejection of a political agenda.
Dennis Clayson is a business professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.